CLC Working On Contact Tracing Team During Pandemic

Posted : 05/19/20 in In the News

CLC Working On Contact Tracing Team During Pandemic
Ellie MacGregor
(Contributor)

Posted 5 days ago

REPOST: The Morning Journal - Article by Jordana Joy

 

For one school nurse, state-wide school closures caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus made her concerned about her job security.

 

Now, she works with Lorain County Public Health for its epidemiology and surveillance team in contact tracking in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

 

Susan Thomas-Young, district registered nurse at Amherst Exempted Village Schools and public health nurse in the Community Health Division of Lorain County Public Health, has taken on working with those who have tested positive for COVID-19 to identify others who may have come in contact and may need to quarantine.

 

She said speaking to families and potential contacts of people tested positive for COVID-19 has been a rewarding experience thus far, especially the teamwork mindset taken on at Lorain County Public Health.

 

"It's so touching," Thomas-Young said. "They're doing such a great job with all the stress that they're under."

 

Personal beginnings

Thomas-Young said her decision to become a nurse came partly by chance.

 

After experiencing health issues out of high school going into college, she said she was touched by the relationships she cultivated with her nurses and practitioners over the two years she was being treated.

 

"It was the nursing care that really impressed me and those relationships that I formed with them," Thomas-Young said.

 

After finishing up her bachelor's degree at Ashland University, she returned to school at Lorain County Community College to become a registered nurse, then received another bachelor's at the University of Texas.

 

Now clocking in over 20 years as a nurse, Thomas-Young said she has worked the entirety of her career in labor and delivery and neonatal units, with expertise normally lying in issues pertaining to women and children.

 

Having experienced losses resulting from infertility, Thomas-Young said the passion she brings to her work is personal.

 

"Its' always been something I knew I wanted to help with, because it was something that touched me personally in my life," she said.

 

Now, Thomas-Young has been with Lorain County Public Health since 2012, and works as a certified lactation counselor, among other responsibilities. 

 

She also has worked intimately with the issue of infant mortality in Lorain County and has seen mortality rates decline over nearly a decade of work put in.

 

"Seeing that reduction in numbers is the most most rewarding, and to develop relationships with you patient," Thomas-Young said. "You see the success."

 

Back to school

With her interest in serving women, children and families in the county, Thomas-Young began working for a handful of different school districts as a nurse and recently began working full time at Amherst Schools in January.

 

At Amherst, she worked with other nurses to ensure the district was having its health needs met.

 

In many cases, this meant keeping in contact with a chronically-ill student's parents to keep them safe and healthy while at school, Thomas-Young said.

 

COVID-19 changes

Erin Murphy, program manager at Lorain County Public Health, said many of those doing contact tracking work with the organization are school nurses.

 

Murphy said the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring medical staff to adapt quickly, with nurses taking on responsibilities that are new to them.

 

"What's been really interesting to watch with anyone's role in the health department is that you kind of see staff getting thrown into tasks that are maybe not their primary job," she said. "They are being asked to adapt quickly.

 

"This information is constantly changing and provides opportunities for staff to work with each other and work with people more closely that maybe, in normal day-to-day roles, there's not as much overlay in normal responsibilities."

 

Thomas-Young said she's very proud of Lorain County Public Health and the work being done to identify those who may be at risk.

 

She said it's very important that people take the precautions advised by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in order to prevent the health care system from becoming overwhelmed.

 

Sanitizing surfaces, washing hands, wearing a mask in public and maintaining social distancing is crucial to continue to slow down the spread, Thomas-Young said.

 

"If we all do it, it's effective," she said.

 

Lorain County residents are advised to stay update to date on COVID-19 information by visiting www.loraincountyhealth.com/coronavirus or calling 440-322-6367 with questions, concerns or to seek assistance.

 

Full article can be read here: https://www.morningjournal.com/news/lorain-county/school-nurse-joins-coronavirus-contact-tracing-at-lorain-county-public-health/article_097491a0-859d-11ea-8b8e-63b20bdaea70.html